WAITING FOR A WEATHER WINDOW IN NUKU’ALOFA

Today has been a flat day.  I have not done anything meaningful.  I am feeling a bit down now that Jessica has gone and I am alone again. I stayed on board most of the day reading a book and doing small odd jobs, just pottering about really.

I want to get going to New Zealand but the weather is not right yet.  It looks like next Monday will be the earliest opportunity to depart.  Very frustrating as I want to be on my way, but you can’t hurry the weather.  So, I will be waiting on weather and going slightly crazy if I can’t find some distraction.

This morning I was reflecting on our trip from Honolulu to Tonga.  The route planned was Honolulu, Christmas Island, Penrhyn, Suwarrow, Niue and Tonga.  In the end, we went direct from Honolulu to Tonga with only a stop at Christmas Island.  The weather on route and at the destinations of Both Penrhyn and Suwarrow being nasty.

In the Vava’u group we met up with a lady who had planned the identical trip, leaving Honolulu a month before us.  She made Christmas Island, after having similar weather on the bow as we did.  She then could not make Penrhyn or Suwarrow and missed them, she left out Niue as we did and headed direct to Tonga, all due to the weather.  What a coincidence that we both had identical itineraries and both made the same route decisions – and then both met up in the same small bay.

Tonight, I will stay on board again and cook some supper.  I have plantain and some fresh veg – it will be a healthy meal.  Then maybe watch a movie.  After a good rest tonight I will be ready for some exploration tomorrow.

ADOPTING PLAN ‘C’ – HEADING TO TONGA

Another lovely night.  This time though the wind deserted us in the early hours and has been missing since.  For the last twelve hours we have rolled around the ocean and just managed to keep moving at between two and three knots.  Such a contrast to the previous days when we have been striding along effortlessly at between six and seven knots.

Jessica Sailing in The South Pacific
Jessica Sailing in The South Pacific

The wind is expected to fill in again this evening and we will welcome some breeze through the boat – its very hot today.  I poled out the jib this morning to reduce the sail flogging, we are moving slowly south east, downwind.

We keep scanning astern looking and hoping for signs of a breeze.  Its been a slow day today, only one hundred and eighteen miles noon to noon.

Last night we downloaded another weather file and found the winds forecast for Suwarrow had not diminished – in fact they had become slightly stronger, thirty knots.  There is no point in us arriving in such weather, the anchorage will be neither relaxing or conducive to exploring ashore or by Kayak.  We will just be stuck onboard, much like during our call at Christmas Island.

We have reluctantly made the decision to skip Suwarrow and head direct for Tonga.  If we had been on an easier schedule we could have easily held back arriving in Suwarrow for a couple of days and then enjoyed some calm condition inside the lagoon.  We don’t have that luxury so will head direct to Neiafu in the Vava’u group to check in with customs and immigration.  It will probably take us another ten days to get to Neiafu, arriving around Monday 21st August.

The time that we have missed at Penrhyn and Suwarrow we will spend sailing down the Tonga chain of islands.  We have been reading some good stuff about Humpback whales breeding at this time of year – hopefully we will catch up with some.  Total voyage distance 540 miles.

GREEN FLASH

The days and nights continue to be pleasant with good sailing conditions.  So far the South Pacific has provided the conditions we wanted and could not find in the North Pacific.

Last night we had sundowners in the cockpit as the sun set.  Both Jessica and I watched for the green flash as the sun dips down below the horizon.  It happened.  I saw the green flash – it was more like a green bloom.  Somehow Jessica managed to miss it completely.  Its quite unusual for the green flash conditions to be just right – I am happy to have seen another one.

Ngozi has completed our application for clearance into Suwarrow.  Hopefully we will have it early next week.  Our ETA is on the 15th August and the weather is still looking a bit dodgy for arrival with strong easterly winds.  However, the forecast today is a little bit better than yesterday, maybe the declining wind trend will continue.

Otherwise its all routine on board, reading, relaxing, fishing (without success today), baking and odd jobs.  The sun I hot now and finding shade in the cockpit is a priority on watch during the day.  A rain shower would be welcome to wash the salt off the boat.  After that a bit more rain is needed to fill up our water tanks that are running down rapidly in this hot weather.  Both Jessica and I could also do with a shower when we get some rain.  Total voyage distance 422 miles.